Tarragon Corn

Side DishQuick and EasyGluten-FreeVegetarian

Fresh corn kernels, poached slowly with shallots in butter and ouzo, with fresh tarragon stirred in to serve.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Is there anything better than fresh corn?

On the cob or off, either way. When summer has fully arrived and corn is in season, nothing beats it.

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A while back I had a lovely meal at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville that featured a side of corn kernels that had been slowly cooked in butter and Pernod and tossed with fresh tarragon.

This is my attempt to recreate the dish and I think we’ve come pretty close!

With all the fresh tarragon growing in my garden I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that would use it well.

Who knew corn and tarragon were such a perfect match? The tarragon just seems to make the corn taste more exquisitely sweet, without being overbearing.

Tarragon Corn Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4

Regarding the anise liqueur the recipe calls for, I think it's a nice touch, but not necessary. You'll get enough of the flavor with the tarragon if you are avoiding alcohol or don't have an anise liqueur on hand.


  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (can sub onions)
  • 3 cups corn (from about 4 ears of corn)*
  • 1 Tbsp of an anise liqueur such as Ouzo, Pernod, Pastis or Sambuca (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt if using unsalted butter, more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp packed, minced fresh tarragon
  • Dash of white pepper (or black pepper if white is unavailable)

* If using fresh corn, to remove corn from the cob first remove the husks and strings. Stand the corn up with the tip down in a large shallow pan like a baking dish. Using a sharp chef's knife, use long downward strokes to remove the corn kernels from the cob. You might find it easier to use a bundt pan to hold the ear of corn and catch the kernels. Or you can use a corn stripper.


1 Cook the shallots in butter: Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.

2 Add the corn, salt, and anise liqueur if using (if not using, add 1 Tbsp water). Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the corn is tender.

3 Remove from heat, stir in the tarragon. Add pepper and more salt to taste.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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11 Comments / Reviews

No ImageTarragon Corn

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Erica

    I had a ton of fresh mint leftover from another dish so I used that instead of tarragon (also Vidalia onions) and it was amazing! I had very fresh corn and only cooked it until it was hot – about 3-5 minutes. Love your site.

    Great idea Erica, thanks for the inspiration! ~Elise

  2. Gretchen

    SO glad we made this! The tarragon is such a perfect complement to the taste of the corn. I love when flavors come together making the whole better than the sum of each part.

  3. Naomi

    I used your recipe! It was delicious. I’m not a huge fan of tarragon or anise actually but I had both on hand and they went beautifully with the corn.

  4. Barbara

    Am not keen on anise. Has anyone tried any other types of liquor or liqueur?

    Tarragon has the same licorice flavor of anise, which is the point of the anise-liqueur. So, if you don’t like anise, you might not like the tarragon either. ~Elise

  5. Jodi

    The combination sounds wonderful. Just one question: 15-20 minutes for corn? What happened to setting the water to boil while you run out to the garden, pick and quickly husk the corn, then 3 minutes in the pot and it’s done? Is California corn tougher than East Coast corn? I’ve actually eaten it right in the garden, no cooking at all. Or is it because the corn came from a store and so wasn’t all that fresh? Just wondering.

    I haven’t had much luck growing corn, so this corn came from the store. ~Elise

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